الآية رقم (160) - إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ وَبَيَّنُواْ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

(160) - (Except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those - I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful)

Islam opens the door of repentance. Repentance is a persistent call to reform. The door of repentance is open and it would never close until the sun rises from its west, as the Prophet (saws) said. Therefore, Allah (swt) excluded a group in the verse: ( Except for those who repent and correct themselves).

 It is not sufficient to say: “I repent”. Rather, you must correct what has been corrupted so that repentance can be achieved and accepted by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:

{ وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ }

(And it is He who accepts repentance on behalf of his servants.)  (Ash-Shura: 25)

The verse did not say ‘from His servants’! Meaning He (swt) accepts repentance from His servants, who committed sins and came back to Him with repentance, in addition to that, He (swt) accepts repentance from those who has not come back to him yet, thus, Allah (swt) is calling them to repent. Therefore, Allah is the repentant who accepts His servant’s repentance every time he commits a sin.

Habib ibn al-Harith came to the Prophet (saws) and said: “O’ Prophet of Allah! I am a man who has been always in sin.” The Prophet (saws) said: “Repent to Allah O Habib.”

He said: “O’ Prophet of Allah! I always repent, but I do repeat my sinful acts.” The Prophet (saws) said:

Then whenever you commit a sin, repent.”

He said: “O’ Prophet of Allah! So my sins will be more.” The Prophet (saws) said:

O’ Habib ibn Harith! Allah’s forgiveness is greater than your sins.”[1]

(وَأَصْلَحُوا  ) correct themselves...): You must fix what you have corrupted. Whoever took the money of a person, he must return it to him. Repentance is not achieved if the money is not returned to its owner, and he has to clarify his repentance. That is because, whoever commits a sin openly and encourages people to do the same, he must repent openly to encourage people to return to their Lord too.

(وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ  ) (and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful): There are verses such as:

{ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوبُوا }

(Then He turned to them so they could repent.)  (At-Taqba: 188)

Allah (swt) favored his servants with the legislation of repentance to them. Do not think that your repentance is a favor from you to Allah (swt); instead it is the favor from Allah (swt) because it is He (swt) Who has legislated this door of repentance for you to enter into it whenever you commits a sin.

[1] Majma’ alzawa’id wa manpa’ alfawa’ed, V.10, Hadith no. 17531